search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

CERT Coordination Center

Microsoft Office PowerPoint code execution vulnerability

Vulnerability Note VU#627331

Original Release Date: 2009-04-03 | Last Revised: 2009-04-03


Microsoft PowerPoint contains a vulnerability. If exploited, this vulnerability could allow an attacker to execute code.


Microsoft Powerpoint is a component of Microsoft Office. Per Microsoft Security Advisory 969136:

The vulnerability is caused when Microsoft Office PowerPoint accesses an invalid object in memory when parsing a specially crafted PowerPoint file. This creates a condition that allows the attacker to execute arbitrary code.

The advisory also states that Microsoft Office 2000, Microsoft Office XP, Microsoft Office 2003, and Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac are affected.


A remote attacker may be able to execute code with the privileges of the user running PowerPoint.


We are currently unaware of solution to this problem. Until updates are available, users are encouraged to use the below workarounds.

Do not open untrusted PowerPoint documents

Do not open unfamiliar or unexpected PowerPoint or other Office documents, particularly those hosted on web sites or delivered as email attachments.

Do not rely on file name extension filtering

In most cases, Windows will call PowerPoint to open a document even if the document has an unknown file extension. For example, if presentation.qwer contains the correct file header information, Windows will open presentation.qwer with PowerPoint. Filtering for common extensions (e.g., .ppt, .pot, and .pps) will not detect all PowerPoint documents. Additionally, a PowerPoint file with no file extension will also open with the PowerPoint application.

Vendor Information


Microsoft Corporation Affected

Updated:  April 03, 2009



Vendor Statement

We have not received a statement from the vendor.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.

CVSS Metrics

Group Score Vector



Information from Microsoft Security Advisory 969136 was used in this report.

This document was written by Ryan Giobbi.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2009-0556
Severity Metric: 9.28
Date Public: 2009-04-02
Date First Published: 2009-04-03
Date Last Updated: 2009-04-03 18:43 UTC
Document Revision: 11

Sponsored by CISA.